Balkans small group tour

“An enthralling cultural tour of the Balkans, taking you through four countries with a series of activities to explore their colourful history and stunning natural scenery.”


Dobrota | Bay of Kotor boat trip | Swimming on the Budva Riviera | Skadar Lake | Moraca Monastery | Walking in Durmitor National Park | Mileseva Monastery | Stay in Sirogojno Open Air Museum | Mokra Gora | Sargan Eight Railway | Kustendorf | Bridge over the Drina | Sarajevo Tunnel tour | Mostar | Stari Most | Wine tasting in the Tvrdos Monastery | Trebinje | Dubrovnik | Cavtat |

Description of Balkans small group tour

This 12-day tour of the Balkans takes you into the heart of former Yugoslavia, from Montenegro to Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and finally Croatia where the journey is crowned with a walking tour of Dubrovnik old town, one of the most sought-after destinations in Europe.

Travelling aboard a coach, you値l visit historic landmarks including the UNESCO-listed Bridge over the Drina, immortalised by the author Ivo Andric, Stari Most and the charming 15th century Tvrdos Monastery in Serbia, where you値l indulge in some wine-tasting in the monastic atmosphere.

Comfortable as the coach may be, this small group tour of the Balkans will see you out and about as much as possible. That might mean island-hopping by boat on the Bay of Kotor, taking a dip off the idyllic Budva Riviera on the Adriatic, or some (light) trekking in magnificent Durmitor National Park, another UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In Serbia you will overnight at the Sirogojno Open Air Museum and get a glimpse of the country痴 rural past with its collection of 19th century buildings, a fascinating national monument, which is also a renowned producer of handmade sweaters. Later, you値l travel to the Mokra Gorge, for a ride on the Sargan Eight narrow gauge railway, so-named for the figure of eight it weaves as it covers 22 tunnels in just 15 kilometres.

Throughout your trip you will be accompanied by knowledgeable tour leaders fluent in the history and culture of the places you visit. You値l be staying in many locally owned pensions and hotels too, where a warm welcome is assured. And in some cities such as Dubrovnik, where a walking tour is a must, you値l see them with local guides that can give you a deeper insight.

Shaped by a rich, turbulent past, the Balkan countries promise a most intriguing journey of exploration.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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12 Jun 2021
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10 Jul 2021
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07 Aug 2021
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04 Sep 2021
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18 Sep 2021
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14 May 2022
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11 Jun 2022
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09 Jul 2022
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06 Aug 2022
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03 Sep 2022
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17 Sep 2022
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Holiday type
Small group holidays
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It痴 easy to tick off the big sights independently but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you池e heading off on a gap year your, perhaps but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides they池e not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they値l let you know which local restaurant serves great value food without running the risk of travellers tummy. They値l allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds and organised travel without the coaches. And it痴 cheaper than a tailor made tour. It痴 sits somewhere in the middle and we think it痴 just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don稚 have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who壇 like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
的 won稚 get any privacy!
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

典here won稚 be any free time
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

典he accommodation will be basic
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won稚 have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

的 won稚 like the other travellers!
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you値l even make new friends.

展ill we be following an umbrella?
Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That痴 why many of our trips work with local guides around the world who invite you into their homeland with pleasure.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

On this trip we have a balance of time spent in the towns and cities and also out exploring the beautiful scenery on foot, such as walking in the Durmitor National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During our walk our Tour Leader will explain about the local fauna and flora and about the importance of safeguarding it for future generations.

We will visit the 13th century Mileseva Monastery, which is one of the country's most important spiritual centres where we will be guided round by a local priest. By visiting here we池e assisting in funding the ongoing conservation of this historic building.

We値l also take a ride on the historic Sargan Eight Railway, which was once admired as a piece of world-class construction, for it allows the train to make the steep climb through the mountains in a figure of eight weaving through 22 tunnels and covering just over 15 kilometres. By visiting this attraction we池e helping to support the ongoing maintenance needed to the steam train and rail track.

The walled city of Dubrovnik is an extremely iconic site, but it was almost entirely destroyed in the Siege of Dubrovnik in the early 1990s. After the shelling had stopped UNESCO stepped in and fully restored the city to its former glory. During our guided walking tour we値l learn all about this tragic point in its history.

To help reduce the level of pollution within the urban centres, the sightseeing tours we operate are mostly done on foot, which is also a great way of seeing all they have to offer first hand. When coaches are being used for these small group trips we keep the size of the coach to a minimum, so rather than using gas guzzling 40-50 seaters we opt for more environmental friendly 15-25 seat coaches that use less fuel and therefore admit less carbon.

In addition to the above, we are continually looking for ways to improve and are proud to be 然esponsible in everything we do. Education is key and so all staff, Tour leaders and partnering suppliers are trained in responsible and sustainable tourism. At our UK Head Office, we continually strive towards a sustainable and planet-friendly working environment, including having solar panels installed and a company commitment to reducing our plastic usage. As well as this, we have valuable and longstanding partnerships with UK charities Toilet Twinning and Send a Cow, plus many smaller initiatives and projects around the world. We池e members of UK travel industry bodies Tourism Concern and AITO because we believe it痴 important to share our knowledge and experience, as well as learn from other operators.

As a company we support Cool Earth. Protecting rainforest is one of the most effective actions to tackle climate breakdown. CoolEarth work with indigenous communities empowering them to conserve their forest; keeping CO2 locked in.

The Impacts of this Trip

On this trip through the Balkans we aim to see the highlights and also less visited areas in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia. The majority of the hotels we use are family run and our hoteliers work actively with the local community to source traditional locally produced foods something we are sure you値l enjoy!

We have chosen to stay in the town of Dobrota instead of its more famous neighbour of Kotor. This allows us to still enjoy the medieval city and fjord in Kotor, but also to help benefit the hoteliers and restaurants in Dobrata, which sees far few tourists. Similarly we致e also decided to stay in Cavtat instead of Dubrovnik, as again we can experience Dubrovnik痴 highlights, but then retreat to the quieter picturesque fishing village of Cavtat where we will spend the night in one of number of unique pensions and in the morning we値l have breakfast in local bakery.

We値l spend a night in Sirogojno a remarkable open air museum that was declared a Serbian national monument back in 1983. Here we can see a collection of traditional 19th century wooden buildings including a bakery, an inn and a dairy. Sirogojno is also known for its authentic high quality and handmade knitted sweaters and we will be shown how these are made and have the chance to try our hand at knitting.

Our knowledgeable Serbian Tour Leaders have a strong love for the Balkans and its traditions and they also have a love of nature, which they will share with you along the way. In fact, all of our suppliers are local, from our ground agents to transport providers, hotels and tour crew so you can be confident that your money is benefitting the local community in the areas we visit.

Our local agent in Serbia also feels passionately about operating responsibly and they have their own responsible tourism policy, which includes ways that they minimise the amount of waste and plastic used and the importance of using local suppliers, they also have an animal welfare policy and support a number of local projects that benefit the communities where they operate trips.


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